Avs Soar Over Jets in a Come From Behind Thriller


103. 3. 107. Final. 4

Tonight felt good, didn’t it! The Colorado Avalanche are a team that was in desperate need of a win, and in dramatic fashion, they pulled it off.  Tonight, the standings and past struggles don’t seem to matter as much. It just feels good to get that W, especially since I had the pleasure of attending the game live!

Things didn’t look so great for the Avalanche about halfway through the third period. The Avs were trailing by a pair of goals, and had just failed to get anything going on their second power play opportunity of the period, bringing them to 0/4 for the game. The crowd was getting restless.

Then, the Avalanche brought some magic back to Pepsi Center. Jarome Iginla ignited the third period rally, with a sweet little wrister that beat Ondrej Pavelec high and glove-side. The play was started by  Matt Duchene, who made a terrific cross ice pass from blue-line to blue-line that hit Alex Tanguay‘s stick right in the tape. Tanguay proceeded to do what Tanguay does, and dished it to a streaking Iginla.

The Avs kept pressing, and the crowd, while not overly massive in numbers, showed a significant amount of spunk in cheering the guys on.

You saw everybody on the bench jump on the third goal. It doesn’t happen too often that everybody lifts their feet when you score a goal -Alex Tanguay

The Avalanche came through, on a Ryan O’Reilly goal with just over 2 and a half minutes to play. Factor drove the net hard, and was able to tap in a deflected Gabriel Landeskog shot. Crowd electric – check. Tie game – check. Players feeling good about themselves – check.

The third period ended frantically, with my knees still shaking after the tying goal, but overtime and beyond would be needed to decide a winner.

The OT period was an up and down affair with both teams trading chances. Winnipeg probably controlled the play a little bit more than the Avs, and Calvin Pickard had to come up HUGE for his team on a couple of saves. He really was fantastic, and the box-score of 30 saves on 33 shots doesn’t tell the whole story.

The Avalanche may have had the best opportunity in the overtime, when Nathan MacKinnon and Erik Johnson were sprung for a 2-on-1. MacKinnon handled the puck down the left wing, and tried to make a feed across for EJ. The Jets defender was able to break up the pass, but the puck found it’s way directly onto the stick of Matt Duchene, who was trailing the play. Pavelec didn’t come up with too many big saves tonight, but this was one of them.

Despite the quality chances from both sides, the game proceeded to the infamous shootout. Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene both scored on slick moves, and Calvin Pickard shut the door on both attempts he faced. Avs pick up a big two points, and more importantly, they pick up some smiles for their faces and a whole lotta confidence going forward. This team needed a win like this!

Other highlights included Gabriel Landeskog and Andrew Ladd dropping the gloves, for a captain’s fight during the second period. Landy seemed to really get the better of Ladd, and in Pickard’s post game presser, he acknowledged it gave the locker room a big boost during intermission. Sometimes the captain has to step up to the plate, and try and galvanize his team. Landy did that in a big way.

The Avalanche scored their first goal of the game, to tie things up at one, on a sweet little passing play through the offensive zone. Jan Hejda jumped down low, and received a pass from Tanguay, and then fired it across to Matt Duchene who had an easy chip in from the doorstep.

Winnipeg had a big game from Mark Scheifele, who had a goal and two assists. He also drew two penalties on the Avalanche, one of which resulted in a goal for the Jets on the ensuing power play.

Specialty teams almost cost the Avalanche tonight, with the Jets able to counter the Avs 0/4 night on the PP with a 2/4 effort of their own. But let’s not worry too much about the negatives. The Avs needed a win, and they got it.

This is the 7th straight game that the Avalanche have won, after rallying from at least a one-goal deficit, a team record. Something about tonight’s win just felt different though. The Avs from last year seemed to be back. The Landeskog fight added an extra element.

The Avalanche needed a game like this to turn their season around. We’ll see if this was it!